CITY motorists are paying up to 30c a litre more for fuel than those in some regional areas, with two new price comparison tools exposing the outlets charging the most.

A Mercury analysis on Thursday through the state government’s free FuelCheck TAS app found unleaded prices ranged from 119.9c a litre to 149.9c a litre, excluding outlets on the state’s remote islands.

For diesel, the cheapest price was 119.9c a litre and most expensive 148.1c a litre.

The state government last September introduced mandatory real-time fuel price reporting so fuel retailers were required to update prices in real time, providing transparency for consumers.

Chloe Hodgson of the Sandfly General Store. Picture: Chris Kidd
Chloe Hodgson of the Sandfly General Store. Picture: Chris Kidd

Last month RACT released its own free price comparison app, Fuel Saver.

RACT chief customer experience officer Stacey Pennicott said mandatory real-time price reporting, in addition to the two apps, was having an impact to stamp out overpriced fuel.

Ms Pennicott said Tasmanians had not been overcharged for fuel during December and January, indicating the changes were working.

“In the few weeks since we’ve launched to our members, we’ve been overwhelmed with the many thousands of downloads achieved. We anticipate this figure will soon be in excess of the almost 10,000 people who originally signed the RACT petition calling for real time fuel pricing, which is a fantastic result,” Ms Pennicott said.

“We know that there are big discrepancies sometimes between prices in urban and regional areas.

“The best way to show retailers that you’re not going to put up with huge variations in fuel prices is to download the Fuel Saver app, vote with your feet and support retailers that are offering the best price.”

Stacey Pennicott Executive General Manager, Membership and Community RACT in relation to the 30 year traffic management plan released by the RACT. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES
Stacey Pennicott Executive General Manager, Membership and Community RACT in relation to the 30 year traffic management plan released by the RACT. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES

It’s long been the case in Tasmania that cheaper fuel can be found at smaller service stations outside the city.

The RACT believes there is no reason country service stations should be able to offer cheaper fuel, other than marketing decisions by individual operators.

The independently owned Sandfly General Store reported one of the lowest fuel rates at 123.9c a litre for Unleaded 91 and Diesel, and 135.9c a litre for Premium 95.

Store employee Chloe Hodgson said the humble Sandfly store was known for its cheap fuel long before the pandemic.

Ms Hodgson has worked at the outlet for eight years, with her mother previously employed there for seven years, and said cheap takeaway food and petrol kept the regulars coming back.

“We’re always helping out with our community and our locals – prices closer to Hobart are very expensive,” Ms Hodgson said.

“We’ve got a lot of loyal customers and a lot of people thanking us for keeping our prices down and helping them out, they’re very grateful.”

South Arm General Store owner Jacqui Stevens, who endeavours to keep her prices low, said she generally added 6c per litre to the wholesale price of fuel.

Ms Stevens said she wanted to help out locals by offering the most affordable fuel possible.

“It’s doing the right thing by our local community really, that’s our primary reason,” she said.

The Murdunna Roadhouse is one of a number of service stations in the Tasman and Sorell regions known for offering cheaper fuel.

Owner Shannon Umgeher said his pricing strategy was aimed at attracting customers to shop at the roadhouse, rather than maximising profits on fuel.

Generic fuel bowser. Picture: RACQ.
Generic fuel bowser. Picture: RACQ.

“We are more into bringing customers in with the cheaper rate, getting then into the shop, and they buy our food and drinks,” he said.

Unmanned 24-hour fuel stations in shipping containers are also appearing around regional Tasmania, offering another avenue for drivers to fill up.

However Ms Pennicott said while unmanned refuelling points provided more options, they were no replacement for traditional service stations.

“Service stations play a really important role in our communities. They are often a great source of local knowledge, provide jobs for locals and can offer invaluable assistance with vehicle safety issues like checking oil, tyre pressure and replacing lights, fuses or windscreen wipers right through to arranging major repairs,” she said.How much will you pay for fuel around Tasmania?

SELECTED UNLEADED 91 FUEL PRICES IN TASMANIA ON THURSDAY (FEB 11)

  • United Brighton 119.9
  • United Sandy Bay 121.7
  • Coles Express Sandy Bay 121.9
  • Caltex Lewisham 122.0
  • Terminal gate price (Hobart) 122.2 cents per litre 
  • Independent Sandfly General store 123.9
  • Port Arthur General Store 123.9
  • Independent Murdunna Roadhouse 124.9
  • Shell Dunalley 124.9
  • Eastside Motors (Tas) Pty Ltd, Scottsdale 125.0
  • St Helens 125.9
  • Woolworths Sorell 125.9
  • Lowes BP Smithton Opt 126.9
  • Liberty Kingston Beach Service Centre 129.9
  • BP Moonah 129.9
  • Woolworths Burnie 130.9
  • Caltex Queenstown 132.1
  • United Triabunna 132.9
  • Caltex Invermay 135.9
  • Caltex Eastlands 135.9
  • Caltex Hobart Macquarie Street 135.9
  • Independent Chudleigh 149.9
  • Lady Barron Store (Flinders Island) 164.0

Source: Fuel Check Tas

Extracted in full from: https://www.themercury.com.au/business/fuelcheck-tas-and-fuel-saver-apps-shine-a-spotlight-on-petrol-prices-as-they-relay-realtime-data/news-story/0676b583f389e3bff1a6b070b154a64e

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